DTI to help Calabarzon coffee farmers sell their products

The head of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region IV-A has vowed to address the issue of coffee sourcing in the region raised by a buyer.

Regional director Marilou Q. Toledo made the commitment at the DTI’s Calabarzon Agri-Business Forum and B2B Session held August 8 in Calamba, Laguna.

In the Q&A portion of the forum, a coffee buyer appealed for help, complaining of encountering problems with sourcing coffee from local suppliers in Batangas. She added that the dwindling supply had forced her to buy imported coffee instead.

Toledo responded by saying that they will look into the matter and resolve it. “Through DTI and the DA, i-inventory natin kung saan-saan ang mga farmers sa surroundings nila. Tutulungan natin kayo in that aspect sa sourcing [Through DTI and the DA, we will inventory where the farmers are. Maybe they are just in nearby surroundings. We will help you with that aspect of sourcing].”

Toledo also emphasized the need to work together. ‘Di puedeng in isolation [Working in isolation won’t work] because the industry has to be a total value chain… Kung tayo’y magtutulungan mas madali maa-address natin yung concern. [If we work together we can more easily address this concern.]”

She instructed the DTI office in Batangas and the regional technical working group to engage with the community on the short-term solution to the issue of sourcing, while also looking at long-term solutions, which involve encouraging the planting of more coffee.

Alvira Reyes, CEO of coffee company Bote Central, who was one of the forum speakers and who sources raw coffee from farmers across the country, also said she believes there is no coffee shortage, saying that what is lacking is simply coordination.

A farmer from Batangas refuted any coffee shortage problem. “Marami tayong kape. Actually ang Batangas ngayon namomoblema saan ibebenta ang kanilang kape. [We have a lot of coffee. In Batangas the problem now is where to sell our coffee.]”

He further shared that coffee producers in Batangas can be found in areas such as Mabato, Calaca, Balayan, and Bauan. He suggested going to the DA office in Lipa, Batangas for the records of registered coffee farms.

A representative from the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) in Batangas, meanwhile, also confirmed the abundance of coffee in the province.

“Marami tayong coffee farmers na nangangailangan ng pagbebentahan ng kanilang products. Kailangan lang nating makipag-coordinate sa OPA-Batangas. [We have a lot of coffee farmers who need to sell their products. We just need to coordinate with OPA-Batangas.]”

Finally, another participant suggested that DTI and OPA set up a buying station where farmers and buyers can meet “para hindi nakatago lang ang kape nila hanggang masira [so that coffee isn’t just stored away until it rots.]”

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